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Patriots News 02-12, Thoughts On Brady Podcast, Mac Jones, Super Bowl

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
February 12, 2023 at 5:00 am ET

Patriots News 02-12, Thoughts On Brady Podcast, Mac Jones, Super Bowl

🕑 Read Time: 10 minutes

Good morning, and here are our Sunday Patriots news and notes. It is Super Bowl game day, which means that after tonight, there won’t be any more football until August. To be honest, while I’m not a fan of either team, I think it should be an entertaining football game. Let’s hope so. 

We’ll get our final thoughts on the Brady-Belichick podcast, a Super Bowl prediction, and some other thoughts on what’s happening around the league. Also, before we go on, make sure you let your significant other know how important they are on Tuesday.

Quick Hitters For the Patriots and NFL News: 

Mac Jones: In an interview on NBC Sports Boston, Tom Curran had a great conversation with Greg Cosell of NFL Films in Arizona. They spoke at length about Mac Jones and his underrated mental aspect of the game. His ability to read defenses, his processing, and how that can keep him on par with some of the best QBs in the league.

“I think that’s a strength of Mac Jones,” said Cossell about the QB’s intelligence and his ability to read defenses.  “I think Mac Jones is a cerebral type player at his best.  I think he can figure all that stuff out.  I think he’s smart.  I think he’s accurate.  You don’t need a hose [a strong arm] to be a great NFL quarterback, and people get caught up in this idea of ‘you need a great quarterback’, there’s not 20 transcendent quarterbacks.  

“So you can’t say that, ‘well, you stink if you don’t have one of those guys.’  You still have to line up and play and now it comes to the structure of your pass game, the rest of your team, the structure of your whole offense, all those things now become factors.  There’s so many variables.”

Cosell mentioned that the mental aspect is where Jones may see a blitz coming and call an audible at the line, that would go unrecognized on television. “What happens if, in that situation, Mac Jones comes to the line, and you know what, he sees that blitz, and he changes the play, and then he drills a 17-yard completion to a wide receiver, and you don’t even know what he did at the line – because no one really knows that – that prevented him from [having to run]? That’s the stuff that Mac Jones ultimately can do.”

Matthew Judon: The Patriots’ edge player was asked about Mac Jones out in Arizona last week, especially about his on-field outbursts. While Judon said that some of it would have to be toned down, it just shows Jones’ passion for winning. And he called Jones a natural leader.

“He’s young; it’s his second year. First-year, he had a lot of success. This year, he didn’t have as much success. You just saw it. It’s not that he’s a bad guy or he’s a bad leader. He actually is a great guy and a great leader, and a great teammate, but he was just frustrated sometimes. That’s OK as a football player because we know you love the game.”

Adrian Klemm: The Patriots added Oregon’s associate head coach, offensive line coach, and running game coordinator to Bill Belichick’s staff. Klemm interviewed with New England for the Offensive Coordinator position, so they obviously think highly of him. He’ll be coaching the offensive line that had so many issues and injuries in 2022.

Klemm was the first draft pick of Bill Belichick (Rd 2, #46 overall) for the Patriots. He was here from 2000-2004. So, he knows the Patriots’ terminology and system and should be a great addition to OC Bill O’Brien’s group of coaches. 

With O’Brien handling both OC and QB duties, Will Lawing coaching TEs, and Klemm now coaching the OL, things are looking up. I will say that I was sorry to see Nick Caley leave, but I understand his feelings. He was passed over twice. I thought they should have given him the playcalling duties last year. 

Patriots 4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2”, in a bit, please check it out. Derek and I spoke about the coaching changes, the Brady-Belichick pod (more below), and the Super Bowl 

Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame, and the fact that especially Francis isn’t is an absolute travesty. Francis and the Raiders’ Dave Casper changed the game with how teams used the tight end position…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.

Thoughts On The Brady, Belichick Podcast

Talk about peeking behind the curtain? Contrary to most of the drivel coming out of sports radio, this podcast wasn’t forced, fake, or trying to whitewash the past. Brady said (and clearly so) that many members of the media, tried to pull the pair apart, and if you paid attention, that was clearly the case. 

Just listen to some of the shows that are screaming the loudest. They’ve been selling fans this for years. While a couple of buffoons were “sick to my stomach” and calling Brady “a fraud,” Brady and Belichick were throwing bouquets at one another.

“Well, you know, Tom’s had just a tremendous career.  It was funny, I was out at the East-West game last weekend and of course, Tom’s picture is up there everywhere as a player in the game, along with a lot of other Hall of Famers, I think they had like 70 Hall of Famers played in that game, or something like that.  But anyway, you know, that’s kind of where it all started.  Michigan, the Orange Bowl, the East-West game.

“The greatest player, the greatest career,” Belichick said. “A great, great person. It was such an opportunity and honor for me to coach Tom. I guess it’s got to end at some point. But it’s the greatest [career] ever so congratulations Tom.” That is some rarified air for Belichick to sprinkle on anyone. 

But first, let’s get back to the supposed hatred for and discord with each other. Now, are we suggesting that they never fought or disagreed? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. If you live and work within such close confines for nearly the entire day for 20 years, you will have blowups, disagreements, and sometimes even fights. Anyone who has ever been married can attest to that. 

Add in Type-A personalities with a burning desire to win; these things are bound to happen. We learned this in the Army’s Special Forces, who often deploy far from home in very austere conditions and many times in cramped living quarters. 

Much has been said (and written) about Brady’s frustrations with the Patriots, and a lot of it has come straight from his dad, Tom Sr., who has been very forthcoming back to when Brady was still in New England. While some of the frustration certainly came from Belichick, listen to what was being said. 

In the Jim Gray podcast, where he asked Brady if he felt appreciated in New England, Brady answered, “I plead the fifth,” everyone associated that immediately with Belichick. But is that correct? No. Brady, for years, took less money (much to the chagrin of the NFLPA) to ensure the team surrounded him with the talent to win.  Nine Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl wins later, and it was time for Brady to get paid. When he didn’t get that, he was rightfully pissed that the Patriots didn’t come through and took that as a betrayal.

Once again, it was all levied on Belichick. But that last summer that Brady was in New England, I had spoken with a close friend of Brady’s, and he told me that there was an agreement that would keep Brady around for three more years. I was asked to appear on “Patriots Unfiltered” on Patriots.com. We heard it wasn’t Belichick who nixed the deal but Kraft that had. At the time, I believed it was Jonathan, but in that part, I was wrong. 

Brady was pissed that Kraft insisted on going year to year and had Belichick break the news to him. That entire training camp, Brady was unlike himself, and very dour, spoke in monosylables and was not forthcoming with the press. What I said was ignored, but if you doubt the veracity, look straight to someone with plenty of sources inside the building. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston has said the same thing. But he’s confirmed that Robert Kraft put a kibosh on the contract. He insisted on going year-to-year.

Robert Kraft and Tom Brady. (PHOTO: David Butler II – USA TODAY Sports)

Now, look who is trying, not by extending an olive branch but placing an entire grove in front of Brady. It isn’t Belichick. It is Kraft. He wants him to retire a Patriot, honor him in front of the fans, and to right a wrong. When Brady attended Kraft’s wedding, they seemed to bury the hatchet last summer. 

Back to the podcast, ask yourself this, how many podcasts has Belichick done in the past 23 years? And what would be his motivation to whitewash the past to give a different narrative? In 20 years, no one is going to care a bit about whether they got along or not. They’ll look a nine Super Bowls in 18 years. 

That’s his and Brady’s legacies with New England. Belichick as a lover of NFL history would be most proud of that and wouldn’t care about anything else. Brady also tried to put to rest the ridiculous Brady vs Belichick nonsense that many media members have been keeping score of. 

“For me, there’s nobody I’d rather be associated with,” Brady said about Belichick, getting emotional several times during the podcast.

“You know, it was coach Belichick’s first year there and we came in together.  I always think for so many young players, anybody can get drafted to a place.  Who’s gonna turn you into something?  Who’s gonna develop you?  Who’s gonna take you under their wing? …I had someone that really saw something in me that not a lot of other people did.

“He and I always had a great relationship and we met all the time.  Did we always see everything exactly the same way?  Who does in life?  What close relationship can you have where everything goes like a bright sunny day?  No, there are moments that … you know, it was never intolerable.  

“I mean, but it was always just, I would say, healthy debates about certain things, and we always talked about them face to face and I think there’s one thing I appreciate about coach Belichick in life is he’s not afraid to have a hard conversation too.  And we didn’t always agree, but we always respected each other.  I know he respected me for the job that I did, and I certainly did the same.  

“And I think even when you go away from each other, you respect each other probably that much more, I certainly did.  Because I realize the commitment that he was trying to make to get our team to win.  And that’s the purpose of sports is to try to go compete and win.  And when you have someone that believes in winning as much as you do, you want to be a part of that.  And when people try to get in the way of that, they become the enemy.  So I always think the people that tried to drive us apart actually brought us closer together.”

“I think it’s always such a stupid conversation to say Brady vs. Belichick,” Brady said. “Because in my mind, that’s not what partnerships are about. Coach couldn’t play quarterback, and I couldn’t coach. … Coach says it a lot: ‘Do your job.’ He asked me to play quarterback. He didn’t ask me to coach.”  

“It’s more what did he not do to bring out the best in me,” Brady said. “We spent a lot of time together. He started to begin to teach me what football was all about, how to study defenses when I started to play.

“I couldn’t imagine a better teacher to say, ‘Hey, here’s how you’re going to play quarterback in the NFL,'” Brady added.

Belichick added that Brady wanted Belichick to rip him in team meetings so that his Patriots teammates could see he wasn’t receiving special treatment from Belichick. He said he got that from basketball coach Bob Knight who said Michael Jordan insisted upon it. 

“Players, they always come back and say, ‘Hey, the first meeting, Belichick got on Brady. … Like, Christ, if he’s gonna talk to Brady like that, I better be straight. I know what’s gonna happen to me,'” Belichick said. ” And he added that Brady appreciated it. 

Brady ended the Belichick segment with this. “I love the sport, I love everyone, man, that came into my life, certainly, coach Belichick was right at the top of the list.  So, thanks, coach. You know how I feel about you.  I love seeing you out there coaching and I think every coach in the world should watch as much of coach Belichick as you can and learn because that’s what they should do.  Because if they want to see what a real coach can do, and what he’s capable of, and the consistency and dependability and the trust that you have in the people that coach you, then there’s nobody I love more than coach Belichick.”

More of Belichick’s comments are in the final section at the bottom of the page.

So I guess that I’m one of those “who believe in unicorns” or whatever, but did/do believe that the relationship between Brady and Belichick was frayed to the point that it is being portrayed on ‘hot take radio’? Nope, Brady was pissed at the Patriots for sure, but that had more to do with Robert Kraft than Belichick… but I don’t have a dog in this hunt. Ultimately,  Brady, Belichick, and Kraft will have the most to say on this and rightfully so.

Super Bowl Predictions:

Derek Havens and I made predictions on our 4th and 2 podcast about the Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Eagles. And we had different takes.

Derek has the     Chiefs 27-23
I have the            Eagles 28-19

I think the Eagles are stacked in the trenches and that may just be the factor where they can control the game. 

This Season:   176—92—2

Last Season:   182—88—1

2020 Season:   169—86—1

2019 Season:   162—93—1

______________

“Tom talks about how much I taught him in those meetings, but I learned so much from Tom,” Belichick explained, “because I never played quarterback and I never saw the game through the quarterback’s eyes I saw it through a coach’s eyes, and what Tom would tell me that he saw and how he saw it, it was incredible how during the game he’d come off and I’d say, ‘What happened on that play?’ 

“And he’d go through eight things that happened. ‘The tackle flashed in front of me. This guy slipped. I saw the linebacker drop wide. The safety was a little deeper than I thought he would be. Then this guy stepped in front, and I kind of put it a little bit behind him because I saw this other guy closing.’ 

“And then you would go back and look at the film, and every one of those things happened in the exact sequence that he explained it to you on the field coming off. I’m like, ‘This guy sees everything.’

“He sees the rush, he sees the routes, he sees the coverage, he sees the depths, and he sees a lot of things pre-snap. When we had the meetings that Tom referred to, we would go over fundamentals, we’d go over game plans, we’d go over situational football, watch other teams play through situations. 

“And I remember so many situations that came up in games where Tom would refer back to, ‘Yeah, that’s what we talked about a few weeks ago when we watched the Detroit-Atlanta game’ or ‘Yeah, remember when they ran this play in this situation two years ago?’

“I mean, the memory and the capacity that Tom had to remember plays, situations and finer points like hard counts and getting-out-of-bounds plays and things like that, from years before in the exact same situation and time frame, was remarkable.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the amazing vision that Tom Brady had on the field during the “Let’s Go” podcast with Brady and Jim Gray.

_______________

“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

 

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Patriots React To Late, Costly Eagles Holding Call In Super Bowl

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Tags: Adrian Klemm Bill Belichick Bill O'Brien Greg Cosell Mac Jones Matthew Judon New England Patriots Patriots Robert Kraft Tom Brady

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    Michael P. McGrath
    Michael P. McGrath
    1 year ago

    Great article. Great read. THANK YOU!

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